Durham Bird Club's Castle Lake Nature Reserve

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Saturday 27th December 2014

Today's sightings;

Stoneybeck Lake/Farnless Farm - 6 Wigeon, 1m Pochard, 16 Moorhen, 87 Curlew and a Redshank.

Castle Lake - 1 Shelduck, 5 Pintail (3m2f), 10 Shoveler, 3f Goldeneye, 1 Little Egret, 7 Redshank and a Fox in the wildlife garden.

Island Farm - 14 Grey Partridge, 2 adult Great Black-backed Gull overflew north, 2 Skylark overflew south and a mixed flock of 100+ Tree Sparrow, Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting.

A1 Flashes - 200 Golden Plover and 18 Magpie.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Monday 15th December 2014

Sightings today from John Olley and myself.

Castle Lake - 5 Whooper Swan (4 adults & 1 juvenile)  3 Pintail, 8 Shoveler, 5 Goldeneye, 400 Wigeon, 200 Teal, 24 Moorhen, 1400 Golden Plover, 1000 Lapwing, 10 Redshank, 10 Curlew, 1 Green Sandpiper, 4 Little Egret, 1 Grey Wagtail.

Wildlife Garden - 1 Goldcrest, 5+ Long-tailed Tit, 1 Willow Tit, 1 Treecreeper.

Low Hardwick - 8 Grey Partridge, 42 Curlew, 30+ Fieldfare, 30+ Redwing.

A1 Flashes - 5 Whooper Swan (as above) over @12:45 heading south then east, 1 Green Sandpiper.

River Stell - 1 Little Grebe.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Sunday 7th December 2014

Catching up with sightings from Sunday with thanks to John Olley and Joe Hughes.

Castle Lake - 10 Redshank, 1 Ruff, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 16 Curlew, 500 Golden Plover, 1000 Lapwing, 320 Wigeon and 1 Great Crested Grebe.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Monday 1st December 2014

Sightings for today included the following.

Castle Lake - 13 Mute Swan, 1 Little Grebe, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 7 Cormorant, 3 Little Egret, c1000 Golden Plover & 1 Dunlin.

Island Farm/Fishburn Lake - 9 Whooper Swan's flew low over heading south-west @10.15, 14 Grey Partridge, 1 Sparrowhawk, 10+ Fieldfare, 2 Goldcrest, c70 Goldfinch & 1 Lesser Redpoll.

Low Hardwick - 1 Kestrel, 1 Snipe, 20+ Redwing, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Willow Tit.

A1 Flashes - 2 Green Sandpiper together.

A few pictures of today's birds;

Nine Whooper's whooping.

Tree Heron at Fishburn Lake

One of two, possibly three Green Sand's present today.

Two of the three Little Egret's still around.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Sunday 30th November 2014

Today's sightings;

Stoneybeck Lake - 370 Lapwing, 1 Golden Plover, 3 Redshank, 9 Curlew, 4 Pochard and 3 Pied Wagtail.

Castle Lake - drake Pintail, 3 female Goldeneye, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 3 Little Egret, 1 female Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel, c500 Lapwing, 7 Redshank and a Mistle Thrush.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Tuesday 25th November 2014

Some sightings from today;

Castle Lake - 3 Black-tailed Godwit, 55 Curlew, 7 Redshank, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1f Goldeneye, 5 Little Grebe, 6 Cormorant, 4 Little Egret, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Grey Wagtail, 1 Song Thrush and 30 Redwing.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Monday 27th October 2014

Thanks to John Olley for todays sightings;

Castle Lake - 1,900 Greylag Geese, 260 Canada Geese, 5 Bar-headed Geese, 1 Pintail, 270 Wigeon, 220 Teal, 2 Goldeneye, 22 Shoveler, 20 Little Grebe, 2 Little Egret, 320 Lapwing, 1 Green Sandpiper, 6 Redshank and 15 Golden Plover.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Monday 20th October 2014

Another excellent selection of birds seen around various locations today, sightings come from John Olley and myself;

Castle Lake - 21 Mute Swan, 400 Pink-footed Geese over south, 600 Greylag Geese, 5 Bar-headed Geese, 10 duck species including 3 Pintail, 2 female Goldeneye, 1 female Goosander, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 5 Little Egret (with another 2 on the River Stell at the same time), 100 Golden Plover, 1100 Lapwing, 5 Snipe, 3 Redshank, 2 Green Sandpiper, 1 adult Great Black-backed Gull.

Low Hardwick - 7 Cormorant over together east, 2 Common Buzzard, 1 Kestrel, 6 Snipe over west, 3 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Stonechat (locally scarce), 1 Chiffchaff, 3 Goldcrest, 2 Willow Tit, 13 Redwing.

Fishburn Lake - very quiet with only 6 Mallard seen.

Some pictures from today;
One of the two Stonechat which were together at Low Hardwick this morning before being chased off by a Reed Bunting.
The five Bar-headed Geese at Castle Lake this afternoon.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Tuesday 14th October 2014

Todays sightings;

Castle Lake - 39 Pink-footed Geese overflew heading south at 14:20 then turned into wind and landed at Low Hardwick, 13 Grey Partridge, 1 Little Egret, 1 Kestrel, 4 Dunlin, 50 Curlew, 5 Redshank and 1 Green Sandpiper.

River Stell - 2 Little Egret.

Low Hardwick - 400 Greylag Geese, 1 Common Buzzard, 1 Kestrel, 30 Golden Plover, 600 Lapwing, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Long-tailed Tit flock which also contained a Goldcrest and at least 1 Willow Tit.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Monday 13th October 2014

Today a Rough-legged Buzzard was seen due east of Castle Lake from the hide, mobbed by Common Buzzard and was probably the same individual noted over Sedgefield yesterday.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Friday 10th October 2014

Sightings for Friday with thanks to John Olley.

Castle Lake and surrounds -  100+ Skylark and 40 Swallow south, 3 Black Tailed Godwit, 400 Golden Plover, 1000 Lapwing, 7 Pink Footed Geese, 30 Mute Swan, 50 Curlew, Greenshank, 5 Buzzard, 3 Kestrel, Hobby hawking dragonflies at Castle Lake.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Wednesday 8th October 2014

Sightings for today with thanks to John Olley and Dave Makinson.

Castle Lake - 1 Dunlin, 5 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 60 Curlew, 3 Green Sandpiper, 6 Ruff, 400 Lapwing, 100 Golden Plover, 4 Little Egret, 20 Little Grebe, 3 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Buzzard.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Monday 6th October 2014

Firstly catching up with sightings from Saturday.

Saturday 4th October 2014
Castle Lake - 90 Wigeon, 70 Gadwall, 220 Mallard, 6 Shoveler, 7 Pochard, 25 Little Grebe, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 12 Cormorant, 3 Little Egret, 1 juvenile Ringed Plover, 1 Ruff, 1 Dunlin, 5 Snipe, 2 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 2 Green Sandpiper, 2 adult Lesser Black-backed Gull and 7+ Skylark.

Stoneybeck Lake - 1 Pink-footed Goose, 47 Greylag Geese, 3 Canada Geese, 3 male Shoveler, 2 Snipe and a singing Chiffchaff.

Distant record picture of the single Pink-footed Goose at Stoneybeck Lake.

Monday 6th October 2014
Castle Lake - 14 Greylag Geese, 132 Canada Geese, 140 Wigeon, 1 Pintail, 10 Shoveler, 185 Teal, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 10 Cormorant, 2 Little Egret, 1 Kestrel, 1 Ringed Plover, 1 Sanderling with a Dunlin in the south-east corner early afternoon (only the 2nd ever record of Sanderling at Bishop Middleham), 2 Snipe, 2 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 3 Green Sandpiper and the Gadwall x Tufted Duck hybrid has returned again.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Sunday 28th September 2014

Today's sightings included the following;

Castle Lake - 53 Wigeon, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 12 Cormorant, 1 Little Egret, female Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel carrying prey, 20 Golden Plover flew over, 200 Lapwing, 6 Ruff, 4 Dunlin, 2 Snipe, 1 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 2 Green Sandpiper, 200 Black-headed Gull, 1 Lesser Black-backed Gull, c50 Pied Wagtail, 1 Yellow Wagtail and 80 Linnet.

Stoneybeck Lake - 20 Teal, 1 Cormorant, 100 Lapwing and 3 Snipe.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Tuesday 23rd September 2014

Today's sightings from John Olley and myself.

Castle Lake - 35 Wigeon, 9 Shoveler, 2 Great Crested Grebe (one adult and a well grown juvenile), 14 Cormorant (quite probably a new site record), 4 Little Egret, 4 Grey Heron, 2 Kestrel, 1 Sparrowhawk, 100 Lapwing, 170 Golden Plover, 6 Ruff, 2 Dunlin, 3 Snipe, 16 Curlew, 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 3 Green Sandpiper, c250 Black-headed Gull, 12 Skylark, 6 Swallow, 56 Meadow Pipit, 39 Pied Wagtail and 2 Yellow Wagtail.

Low Hardwick - 1 Buzzard, 1 Kestrel and a singing Chiffchaff.

A1 Flashes - 6 Black-tailed Godwit.

Record picture of today's highlight, the Spotted Redshank at Castle Lake, one of an excellent eleven species of wader on offer today.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Sunday 14th September 2014

Sightings for today from John Olley, Joe Hughes and myself.

Castle Lake and A1 Flashes - 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 juvenile Little Stint, 3 Ruff, 200 Curlew, 2 Greenshank, 8 Green Sandpiper, 400 Lapwing, 1 Dunlin, 40 Wigeon, 60 Teal, 1 Little Egret, 120 Linnet, 40 Pied Wagtail, 1 White Wagtail, 200 Swallow, 20 Meadow Pipit, 1 Kestrel, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 6 Mistle Thrush and 250 Black-headed Gull.

Stoneybeck Lake - 2 Wigeon, 2 Shoveler and 3 Lesser Black-backed Gull.

Poor record shot of one of today's three juvenile Little Stint at Castle Lake.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Monday 8th September 2014

Sightings for today;

Mute Swan  Quite a few around again today including seven in flight together over Low Hardwick heading towards Hardwick Hall and three well grown cygnets on Fishburn Lake.

Shelduck  One juvenile at Stoneybeck Lake.

Wigeon  Nine at Castle Lake and unusually a single on Fishburn Lake.

Great Crested Grebe  one in non-breeding plumage on Castle Lake.

Cormorant  six at Castle Lake including three which flew in together from the north.

Little Egret  at least five today either on Castle Lake or on the River Stell.

Common Buzzard  one seen on two separate occasions over the A1 flashes.

Sparrowhawk  three separate sightings of probably two different birds.

Kestrel  two together at the southern end of Castle Lake.

Hobby  one mobbed by Crow's before heading to Low Hardwick and seen to catch insects in flight whilst being mobbed by Swallow's at 11:50.

Lapwing  at least 500 in the general area.

Ruff  three at Castle Lake.

Black-tailed Godwit  still eleven on the A1 flashes, nine of which made a brief visit to Castle Lake.

Curlew  sixty-five on the A1 flashes.

Green Sandpiper  two at Castle Lake and another on flash next to the footpath leading to Fishburn Lake.

Common Sandpiper  a late individual at Castle Lake.

Kingfisher  two separate sightings including one at Castle Lake.

Swallow  still over one hundred seen today, mostly around Castle Lake.

Yellow Wagtail  one flew south calling just south of Castle Lake.

Grey Wagtail  two adults together chasing a Sparrowhawk(!) near Fishburn Lake.

Chiffchaff  a few still around including two singing near Fishburn Lake.

Other birds seen or heard today included Shoveler, Teal, Little Grebe, Grey Heron, Snipe, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Skylark, House Martin, Sand Martin, Whitethroat, Coal Tit, Treecreeper, Jay, Tree Sparrow and Bullfinch.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Thursday 4th September 2014

A few sightings today with thanks to Joe Hughes.

Castle Lake - 2 Dunlin, 2 Green Sandpiper, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Yellow Wagtail and a Marsh Harrier.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Tuesday 2nd September 2014

Today's sightings;

Stoneybeck Lake - 1 juvenile Shelduck, 1 Common Buzzard, 1 Sparrowhawk.

Castle Lake - 3 Wigeon, 2 Garganey, 3 Cormorant, 3 Little Egret, 1 Hobby @13:45 over the south-west corner then flew high to the south-west, 1 Kestrel, 1 Oystercatcher (late record), 1 Little Ringed Plover, 400 Lapwing, 2 Ruff, 2 Dunlin, 4 Green Sandpiper, 1 Common Sandpiper, 9 Lesser Black-backed Gull (8 adults), 1 Common Whitethroat and 100 Linnet.

Alan's Pool - 2 Little Grebe, 1 Greenshank and 1 Sedge Warbler.

A1 Flashes - 1 Ruff, 11 Black-tailed Godwit and 2 Common Sandpiper.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Monday 1st September 2014

Catching up with recent sightings with thanks to Joe Hughes and John Olley.

Friday 29th August 2014
Castle Lake - 2 Little Egret, 2 Common Sandpiper, 2 Green Sandpiper, 8 Dunlin, 1 Greenshank, 1 Ruff, 65 Curlew, 1 Corn Bunting.

Sunday 31st August 2014
Castle Lake - 6 Green Sandpiper, 3 Little Egret, 1 Common Sandpiper.

Monday 1st September 2014
Castle Lake - 1 Spotted Redshank, 2 Ruff, 2 Dunlin, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Common Sandpiper, 5 Green Sandpiper, 600 Lapwing, 1 Little Egret, 34 Teal, 24 Little Grebe, 300 Black-headed Gull.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Tuesday 26th August 2014

Sightings today included the following;

Castle Lake - 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel, 1 Ruff, 9 Dunlin, 1 Redshank, 6 Green Sandpiper, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Skylark and a male Blackcap.

A1 Flashes - 3 Ruff, 1 Snipe, 1 Greenshank, 1 Green Sandpiper and 1 Common Sandpiper.

Wildlife Garden - 2 Willow Tit, a singing Willow Warbler and a juvenile Grey Wagtail.

Alan's Pool - 2 Little Egret.

The juvenile Grey Wagtail is very approachable as this photo proves.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Sunday 24th August 2014

Today's sightings with thanks to John Olley.

Castle Lake - 14 Black-tailed Godwit, 12 Dunlin, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 4 Green Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper, 400 Lapwing, 2 Little Egret, 120 Sand Martin, 42 Pied Wagtail, 2 juvenile Kestrel, 1 juvenile male Sparrowhawk, 1 Buzzard, 34 Little Grebe, 210 Coot, 5 Garganey and 104 Gadwall.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Saturday 23rd August 2014

Another excellent selection this afternoon with eleven species of wader seen;

A1 Flashes - 9 summer plumaged Black-tailed Godwit (later eight made a brief excursion to Castle Lake before flying off back towards the flashes), 3 Ruff, 2 Snipe, 100 Lapwing, 1 Green Sandpiper and an overflying Common Buzzard.

Castle Lake - 2 Wigeon, 5 Shoveler, 2 Pochard, 1 adult Great Crested Grebe, 4 Cormorant, 3 Little Egret, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel, 1 juvenile Little Ringed Plover, 400 Lapwing, 2 Ruff, 10 Dunlin, 1 Snipe, 64 Curlew, 2 Greenshank, 7 Green Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 20 Common Gull and a Kingfisher.

Winter visitors are returning slowly including Wigeon and...

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Wednesday 20th August 2014

Sightings for Wednesday come from Steve Evans, thanks Steve.

Stoneybeck Lake - juv. Whinchat, 6 Corn Bunting, 6-7 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Green Sandpiper, 450 Greylag Geese.

Castle Lake - 1 Wood Sandpiper, 3 Common Sandpiper, 4 Green Sandpiper, 2 Ruff, 8-9 Dunlin, 2j Little Ringed Plover, 1 Snipe, 120 Lapwing, 74 Curlew, 2 Kingfisher, 3 Little Egret, 3 Garganey, 204+ Coot, 2 Shelduck, 3 Cormorant, GC Grebe incubating, 50+ Pied Wagtail, 7+ Yellow Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, juv. Sedge Warbler, Little Grebe with very small young.

Mainsforth Stell - 2 Kingfisher, 2 Little Egret, 2 Yellow Wagtail.

A1 Flashes - 4 Green Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper, 9 Snipe, 140 Curlew, 27 Teal.

Alan's Pool - 1 Little Egret, 4 Snipe, 2 Skylark.

Fishburn Lake - 1 Kingfisher, 1 Little Egret, 2 Jay.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Tuesday 19th August 2014

Today's sightings;

Castle Lake - 29 Mute Swan (probable new site record), 2 Grey Partridge, 3 Cormorant, 1 Little Egret, 1 Common Buzzard flew over, 1 Kestrel, 1 juvenile Little Ringed Plover, 3 Ruff, 8 Dunlin, 60 Curlew, 10 Green Sandpiper (a new site record), 1 Wood Sandpiper, 3 Swift, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Yellow Wagtail.
The wildlife garden produced a Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Willow Tit, at least two each of Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler and 2 Grey Wagtail (a new breeding species for Bishop Middleham?).

A few pictures from today;
juvenile Grey Wagtail
juvenile Wood Sandpiper
some of the many Goldfinch around at the moment
Little Egret

Monday, 18 August 2014

Monday 18th August 2014

Today's sightings with thanks to John Olley.

Castle Lake - 1 Wood Sandpiper, 6 Green Sandpiper, 6 Dunlin, 150 Lapwing, 2 Little Ringed Plover, 7 Ruff, 3 Little Egret, 32 Little Grebe, 4 Garganey, Wigeon, 12 Swift, 5 Buzzard, 4 Yellow Wagtail, 48 Pied Wagtail and a juv Kestrel.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Sunday 17th August 2014

Sightings from today;

Stoneybeck Lake - 4 Ruff, 2 Shelduck and a Pochard.

Castle Lake - 3 Shelduck, 2 Wigeon, 1 Pochard, 1 Little Egret, 7 Ruff, 6 Dunlin, 2 Greenshank, 4 Green Sandpiper, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper, 130 Black-headed Gull, 3 Swift, 4 Yellow Wagtail and a charm of c100 Goldfinch.
The Wood Sandpiper remained typically elusive and distant for most of my visit, but it eventually showed well at the northern end of the lake.
This Green Sandpiper found the area below the hide to its liking.

A1 Flashes - 5 Shelduck, 2 Grey Heron and c100 Curlew.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Friday 15th August 2014

Sightings from the last two days with thanks to Adam Jones, John Olley and Joe Hughes.

Thursday 14th August
Castle Lake - 6 Garganey, 2 Little Egret, 3 Little Ringed Plover, 8 Dunlin, 1 Wood Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Greenshank, 3 Snipe, 1 Kingfisher and 1 Wheatear.

Friday 15th August
Castle Lake - 9 Ruff, 8 Dunlin, 400 Lapwing, 4 Green Sandpiper, 2 Common Sandpiper, 8 Shelduck, and Garganey.
A1 Flashes - 200 Curlew, 2 Green Sandpiper, 2 Buzzard and 2 Kestrel.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Wednesday 13th August 2014

Sightings for today included the following;

Castle Lake - a Marsh Harrier flew through at 13:45 mobbed by Lapwing before drifting off to the north, waders included 1 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Ruff, 15 Dunlin, 9 Snipe, 1 Greenshank, 2 Green Sandpiper and 3 Common Sandpiper, others were a pair of Great Crested Grebe nest building (!), 2 Little Egret, c400 Black-headed Gull and 4 Yellow Wagtail.
A Kingfisher was seen at Fishburn Lake.

Just a small proportion of the 400 or so Black-headed Gull's at Castle Lake this morning, no doubt brought in by the work of a nearby combined harvester.
One of today's Ruff.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Saturday 2nd August 2014

As water levels continue to fall, Castle Lake is starting to return to its former glory.

A pretty decent selection on offer today, the highlight being a Wood Sandpiper on the far side of the lake directly across from the hide.
Other sightings included 7 Mute Swan, 9 Shelduck (8 of which were well grown juveniles), 5 Garganey (an adult accompanied by 4 well grown juveniles), 1 Grey Partridge, 30 Little Grebe, 1 adult Great Crested Grebe, 4 Cormorant, 1 Little Egret, 2 Oystercatcher, 2 juvenile Little Ringed Plover, 100 Lapwing, 1 juvenile Dunlin, 5 Snipe, 4 Curlew overflew, 3 Green Sandpiper (all located in the partially flooded bowl between the north end of Castle Lake and the wildlife garden), 2 Common Sandpiper, 40 Pied Wagtail, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Grey Wagtail, a Wheatear in the south-east corner an a singing Corn Bunting.
The two juvenile LRP's.

The A1 Flashes held 2 Grey Heron, 3 Little Ringed Plover, 4 Snipe, 5 Green Sandpiper and a single Common Sandpiper.
A quick look at Stoneybeck Lake revealed 25 Mute Swan, c500 Greylag Geese and another singing Corn Bunting.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Monday 28th April 2014

A good selection of species seen today including the following;

Mute Swan - 8 on Castle Lake, 18 on Stoneybeck Lake, a single on Alan's Pool and nesting pairs at Fishburn Lake & Low Hardwick.

Great Crested Grebe - a displaying pair on Fishburn Lake (pictured below).

Common Buzzard - two over Low Hardwick.
Dunlin - 4 summer plumaged birds at Castle Lake.
Curlew - 9 at Stoneybeck Lake.
Green Sandpiper - 1 on the A1 Flashes.
Common Sandpiper - 2 at Castle Lake.
House Martin - at least 2 over Castle Lake this morning.
Yellow Wagtail - at least 5 at Castle Lake (two pictured below).

Common Redstart - a stunning male bird provided good views from 1255-1315 along the raised embankment between the old sluice gate and Alan's Pool (two pictures below).

Wheatear - 1 near the Castle Lake shoreline.
Sedge Warbler - 1 back singing at Fishburn Lake.
Whitethroat and Blackcap - good numbers around all areas.
Corn Bunting - 1 singing near the Castle Lake hide (pictured below).

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Sunday 13th April 2014

Sightings today included the following;

Stoneybeck Lake - 16 Mute Swan, 10 Shelduck and 3 Redshank.

Castle Lake - 3 Pochard, 3 Little Ringed Plover, 2 Dunlin, 12 Redshank, 1 Common Sandpiper, 5 Swallow, 100+ Sand Martin, 1 Yellow Wagtail and the Channel Wagtail.

A1 Flashes - 1 Green Sandpiper.

Fishburn Lake - numerous singing Willow Warbler.

One of todays Little Ringed Plover at Castle Lake.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Monday 7th April 2014

First blog post for a while.
Highlights from this morning.
Stoneybeck Lake - 14 Mute Swan, 1pr Shelduck, 5 Little Grebe, 1pr Great Crested Grebe, 1 Oystercatcher, 1 Redshank and 1pr Lesser Black-backed Gull.

Castle Lake - 1pr Shelduck, 4 Goldeneye, 5+ GC Grebe, 2 Cormorant, 7 Oystercatcher, 1 Little Ringed Plover, 7 Redshank, 1pr LBb Gull, 30+ Sand Martin and 1 'Channel' Wagtail.

Unusual coloured Greylag Goose on Castle Lake this morning.

A1 Flashes - 1 Shelduck, 3 Grey Heron and 1 Green Sandpiper.
Low Hardwick - 1 Little Egret, 2+ Chiffchaff, 1 Willow Warbler singing, 2 Willow Tit, 6 Linnet and a Treecreeper carrying nesting material.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Tuesday 25th February 2014

Another good selection of birds seen this afternoon.

Castle Lake - 9 Mute Swans flew in low from the south, 220 Wigeon, 1 pair of Pintail, now 2 Great Crested Grebe present, 2 Cormorant (one pictured below), 2 Oystercatcher, 1 Dunlin, 100+ Curlew with 10 Tree Sparrow along Foumarts Lane.

The A1 Flashes held 3 Shelduck, 100 Wigeon, 17 Shoveler, 1 Little Egret, 2 Grey Heron, 19 Oystercatcher, 3 Dunlin and 3 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls (one pictured below).

Lesser Black is back! One of three distant birds seen today.

Stoneybeck Lake - 2 Shelduck, 2 Wigeon, 30 Gadwall, 2 Shoveler, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Peregrine, 2 Oystercatcher and 60 Curlew.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Saturday 22nd February 2014

Some sightings from this morning;

Castle Lake; 5 Mute Swan, 1 Shelduck, 2 Grey Partridge, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Cormorant, 1 Common Buzzard close to the south-west corner, 17 Oystercatcher, 10 Skylark many singing and at least 7 Corn Bunting some singing.
don't forget to look both ways before you cross the lake. Mute Swans seen initially on Alan's Pool.

A1 Flashes; 2 Shelduck, 1 Little Egret, 3 Grey Heron and numerous gull's.
Low Hardwick; 4 Common Buzzard up together.

Stoneybeck Lake; 1 Shelduck, 1 Kestrel, 3 Oystercatcher, 6 Dunlin dropped-in for twenty minutes then departed west, 75 Curlew, 20 Stock Dove, 5 Skylark and a very mobile flock of c150 Linnet in the field west of the lake.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Sunday 16th February 2014

A few sightings from this afternoon.

Stoneybeck Lake; 20 Canada Geese, 20 Stock Dove, 160 Coot, 2 Oystercatcher and 2 Long-tailed Tit.

Castle Lake; 1 Shelduck, 3 Pintail, 17 Shoveler, 1 GC Grebe, 1 Little Egret, 4 Oystercatcher, 15 Golden Plover and 2 Dunlin.

not the smartest drake Shoveler in the world.

bathtime! Sixteen Oystercatcher today, a new February record.

A1 Flashes; 2 Grey Heron and 10 Oystercatcher.
Low Hardwick; 1 Common Buzzard.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Tuesday 11th February 2014

A very dull overcast morning, slowly brightening up with blue skies by mid-afternoon. The strong southerly wind quickly subsided, becoming a light south-westerly.
Certainly not as bad as the previous days forecast suggested, so armed with the thought that there's no such thing as bad weather just bad clothing I set off for another look around the patch and reiterating the words of my last post the day provided some good winter birding.
Two unexpected species vied for top billing with a good supporting cast.

Mediterranean Gull  A 2nd-winter individual on Castle Lake in with a group of 30-40 Black-headed Gulls.
3rd from the left for those not familiar with very average photography.
middle middle. Only my 4th or 5th sighting of this species at Bishop Middleham.

Black-tailed Godwit   A single bird flew out from behind the main Castle Lake island, probably enticed out by some nearby curlew, had a bath, preen and a bit scratch before flying back from whence it came. Too distant for a photo. Prior to today there has never been a sighting of Black-tailed Godwit here between January to March.

A good supporting cast included;
Goldeneye   Another increase with 13 present today including the two drakes still.
Goosander  A pair copulating.

Great Crested Grebe  The first returning bird of the year.
New bird in town, got the whole place to yourself for now.

Little Egret   Still at least one in the area, favouring the A1 flashes.
Oystercatcher  Four on Castle Lake with another six on the flashes.
Golden Plover   Two hundred at Low Hardwick.
Lapwing   circa six hundred at Low Hardwick.
Just a small proportion of the Lapwing flock seen today.
Redshank   17 together on the flooded field south of Alan's Pool.

Best of the extras included Shelduck, Buzzard, Snipe, Willow Tit, Treecreeper, Tree Sparrow and Bullfinch.

Clear as mud, some serious clarts on the 'footpath' to Low Hardwick.

Finally a big thanks to the hide repair team :-)


Friday, 7 February 2014

Friday 7th February 2014

A cloudy and calm morning with sunny intervals gradually developing as the day went on, wind increasing to a moderate westerly taking the edge off the temperature.

Clocked-up a small milestone today with my 350th visit since April 2007. Despite this I still get that sense of anticipation of not knowing just what to expect no matter the time of year or what weather mother nature throws at us. I can honestly say that none of my visits could ever be considered predictable or boring, there is always something of interest, birding here never lets me down.
Having said that, todays visit was somewhat tarnished by news that the Castle Lake hide had been broken into sometime this week :-(

Morning and afternoon visits to Castle Lake and the A1 Flashes combined to produce the following list; 3 Shelduck, 2 pair of Pintail, 11 Goldeneye (9f2m), drake Goosander, 3 Cormorant (including one on the flashes, a first for me), 7 Grey Heron, 1 Little Egret, 2 Kestrel, now 7 Oystercatcher (including a pair copulating), 18 Redshank, at least 1 singing Skylark on territory with a trickle of overflying birds heading north, the Grey Wagtail and a single Fieldfare.

the drake Goosander actually landed close to the hide for a change,

as did two of the record number of Goldeneye.

Low Hardwick once again provided good variety with 13 Greylag Geese, 4 Grey Heron unusually flying over together towards the flashes, 3 Common Buzzard (pictured below), 2 Kestrel, 100 Golden Plover, 400 Lapwing, a Kingfisher on the moto-x pool (only the second time I've had one there), 2 Dunnock, 1 Song Thrush, 12 Long-tailed Tit, 3 Willow Tit, 4 Bullfinch, 3 Reed Bunting and last but not least a Fox.

you wait ages for a Buzz, then three come along together.

some of the twenty or so Redshank seen today.

Final call of the day was Stoneybeck Lake which supplied amongst others 2 Shelduck, 2 Wigeon, 6 Pintail (4m2f), 1 Peregrine (pictured below), 25 Moorhen, circa 130 Coot, 10 Stock Dove, 2 Redshank and 56 Curlew.

I know if I were a bird which of these would scare me the most.

resist a Pintail picture (possibly ten different individuals around at the moment).